RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Feb 12, 2010


TODAY: Russia and Cuba praise association; Kaliningrad governor postpones meeting; gay and lesbian organizations file lawsuit in Europe; US-Russia relations are not easy; Kirov governor says modernization is beyond economy; Putin wishes luck for Vancouver Olympics; Sochi residents still without compensation; police robbers.
The Governor of Kaliningrad, Georgy Boos, is having a hard time scheduling his promised meeting with opposition leaders in the region, says The Other Russia.  Is a new opposition movement brewing in Khanty-Mansisk over President Dmitry Medvedev’s plans to replace a popular leader?  ‘Russian gay and lesbian organizations have filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg against the Moscow city authorities for rejecting their requests for marches and rallies.‘ The Moscow Times says that US-Russia relations are suffering due to ‘the fundamental differences between the strategic perspectives of Moscow and Washington. Neither side wants to acknowledge these differences since it would involve each recognizing the limits of their respective powers.‘  Russia and Cuba have warmed relations to ‘a truly strategic association‘, according to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whilst his Cuban counterpart praised ‘five decades of brotherhood‘.  The Economist praises Russia’s decision to mark the 1940 Katyn massacre.

Nikita Belykh, the opposition politician appointed to lead the Kirov region last year, says that modernization must begin with society, rather than economy, and that it would take at least ten years to make the region self-sufficient.  Russia House has been opened for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, with a video-link message of good luck for Russia’s athletes from Vladimir Putin.  Homeowners in Sochi are homeless and without compensation two years after a garbage landslide destroyed their houses and the infrastructure of their neighborhood – conflicting somewhat with official promises that the city’s Olympic hosting would improve living conditions.  Presumably the $16.5 billion that Sochi has received in private investment is tied up elsewhere…
The Emergency Situations Ministry is adjusting the law in the wake of the Perm nightclub fires last year, to require business owners to purchase liability insurance to cover third party damages.  Bank robbers…on the police force.  
PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, speaks during a television conference with the Russian House in Vancouver from his Black Sea residence in Sochi, southern Russia, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexei Druzhinin, RIA Novosti, pool)